He was born in a region of gold miners and learned to look for it in the bowels of the earth. She worked as an intern in Cali, an hour and a half from her native Suárez, after the birth of her first child, whom she gave birth to in her house helped by her mother, who was a midwife she. With 11 siblings, in a home of hardship, single and 16 years old, she had to seek more income to support the child and she went to the city.
“I had to endure a lot of humiliation, it was as if they considered me their slave,” she wrote on Twitter, a description she often repeats when she recounts her life. She later had another son and returned to the town, of about 35,000 inhabitants, and nestled in the mountains of the department of Cauca. Over time, she led a battle of her countrymen against foreign miners who tried to extract gold with bulldozers that devastate everything, instead of using artisanal techniques, less harmful to Nature.
He also successfully led several struggles for the government of Juan Manuel Santos to revert mining titles given to multinationals, which would be detrimental to the local inhabitants, who would be forced to go to other places. The “march of the turbans” deserved special attention, a six hundred kilometer walk by women, from Cauca to Bogotá, to promote their struggles.
Getting both of them to abandon their pretensions earned him, among others, the Goldman Prize, which distinguishes the most outstanding environmentalists. Thanks to the more than 150,000 dollars that accompanied the distinction, she was able to buy a flat in Cali.
Last year he managed to fulfill another of his dreams: to finish Law, a title that joins the agricultural technician that he had obtained years ago.
Activist of environmental and human rights causes since he was a teenager, with a political vocation and a natural leadership, he directed the Community Council of La Toma, the district of Suárez where he was born and in 2014 he participated in the peace talks in Havana as a victim of the armed conflict . As a result of these negotiations, in 2017 the Cuban government granted some scholarships to study medicine to Colombians and one was obtained by a son from France.
In 2018, he unsuccessfully aspired to occupy the seat of the special constituency for Afro-descendants in Congress (the regional chamber in Colombia). In 2020 she was elected a member of the National Council for Peace and Coexistence, which she would preside over the following year, and also in 2021 she took the step that would put her in the national spotlight. She registered her name in the presidential primaries of the Historical Pact, with the “I am because we are” movement, backed by the socialist Democratic Pole. Despite her long life in activism, she was just as unknown to most of the country as her opponent, Marelen Castillo.
In her rallies she used to claim that she was the representative of the “nobody”, inspired by the poem by the Uruguayan Eduardo Galiano, and emphasized her poor background and being the first woman of her social status and race who could reach Casa Nariño. against the power of the privileged.
Since all the polls predicted that Gustavo Petro would sweep the Historical Pact primaries and be the presidential candidate, interest centered on who would come in second place.
Márquez immediately began to attract attention, a woman who dazzled her audience with a gimmicky speech, with a certain demagogic air in which, in addition, for the first time she mentioned “all, all and all”, to highlight her inclusive character.
Little by little, it gained strength until it ended up far behind Petro but with 800,000 votes, a figure that catapulted it to the vice-presidential candidacy. And she warned that she does not plan to be a figurehead or a stone guest of the government if they win.
“Thanks to God, to our ancestors and ancestors, because without them, without them it is not possible (…) to do this path,” he said when accepting the nomination. “Our task will be to contribute to a historic struggle that we have waited for as an Afro-descendant people, and that is to be able to advance in historic reparation.”
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